Musings of a Lady

Monday, July 30, 2012

Le Modiste: Elizabethan Sampler

While I am helping my Mom during her recuperation from full knee replacement - We now call her the Bionic Grandma - I have had time to work on hand sewing projects.  I did finish my 18th century cap - all sewn by hand but I can't get a good picture of it, so I apologize and will post a picture later when I can get a better image.

I have started an Elizabethan embroidery sampler in hopes of one day embroidering my own fitted jacket from the later period  - 1600-1610.  I had a piece of oatmeal colored linen and I am using dark blue silk embroidery thread.  Here is a preview of my start:

My stitching isn't consistent but I am really enjoying the process.

An expanded view.
The pea-pod motif I saw 30 years ago on a woman's jacket of the time period and I have always been in love with it.  I am still searching for a whole image of the jacket as I lost the book it was in.  However, I found this a small image of the embroidery in a recent book, I think it was Tudor Tailor.

I am not quite sure I am using the correct stitches or not but I am enjoying experimenting.  What I am using is a back stitch instead of a stem stitch, should I be using something else?  I looked through Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 4 which featured cuffs, caps, chemises, shifts and shirts and collars.  However, they don't really explain all the stitches so I am imitating the best way I know how.

There is one person,  Bjarne Drews, from whom I would love to take embroidery classes from!  No, he doesn't offer any classes that I know of.  Also, he resides in Denmark.  Sigh.  It would be totally worth the trip to learn from him.  This man is amazing and is an inspiration!  He embroiders 18th century gowns and accessories by hand.  He is amazing.  Did I mention that already?  If you go to his web page (it is in Danish) you will love his work.  If you are on Face Book - find his page and take a look. 

Note to self:  Take final pictures of hand sewn cap from Kannik Korner and post on it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pique-Nique: Bastille Day

A group of friends gathered to commemorate Bastille Day but with the intent of raising a glass of champagne to those departed in the horrifying reign of terror that followed.  Our hopes were to have a beautiful sunny day.  The days before the event were overwhelmingly gloomy and cold, - yes, in July! Yet,  the weather Gods smiled on us and we had a fantastic afternoon of sunshine and warm but not hot temperatures.

We were a small gathering but a good group of like-minded people willing to gather in period fashion with all the trimmings of dining and enjoying each other's company.  Without further ado, here are some highlights from our day.

This wonderful lady has a habadashery shop called:  Renaissance Fabrics.  See link below.

We had a lovely time.  Many of these ladies have created their gowns various lesson learned at Costume College and from the wonderful ladies and gentlemen at Margaret hunter Shop:  Milliners and Mantuamakers in Colonial Williamsburg.  This link is to the CW site explanation of the Milliner site.  On Facebook look up written above.  You will see some of these ladies in the recent posts.

Another Link to share:

Next up:
Mainly hand sewing projects.  I want to finish my Kannik Korner Womans Cap (  that I didn't get done before the party.  I borrowed one of my friends.  I love my friends!  :)  I also plan to play with embroidery and hand sewing techniques for future use.

Dear readers:  I will try to post as often as I can over the next three weeks.  I will be moving over to my parents house in order to help and support my 84 year old Mother who is having her left knee replaced. Therefore it is likely that my postings will dwindle a bit as my focus will be on my mother's recovery and getting ready to return to work - I am a teacher and I need to work on my curriculum for this coming fall.  So, please be patient, check back often and please leave comments!  I love hearing from you all.  Cheers.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Le Modiste: Infant's chemise

I do not have children of my own but one of my best girl friends has a darling little girl that I can sew for.  After all what are Aunties for?  As we are attending an 18th century picnic next Saturday and little Violet will need a dress to wear.  She is, of course, growing every minute therefore I made a chemise based on Sharon Anne Burnston's website instructions.

I made a sloper (mock-up of muslin) first.

I used an ivory damask cotton I had lying around.  Here are the results:
She was so happy with her chemise her feet wouldn't stop moving!  :)
Sewing for so small a person is amazing.  My machine took a temporary bunk and I had to hand stitch the ruffles on the sleeves which took all but 10 minutes for both.  The ruffle edges were hand stitched then gathered before being attached to the sleeve edges.  Now all she needs is a sash and her other Auntie is going to make her a cap.  I will definitely take pictures at the picnic to see her all dressed!

Next up:

Victorian corset on hold
Embroider sampler moved up to priority.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Le Modiste: Summer Frock 1918

With the celebration of my country's birthday, I planned to attend a 4th of July back yard party at the Pardee Home Museum in downtown Oakland.  Two friends were performing there and others and as well as myself joined in to add historical atmosphere to this Victorian home.  Most of us went in either teens or early Art Deco wear.  I decided, since I am still under the influence of "Downton Abbey", to create an 1918 summer frock.    My inspiration was the Folkwear  Armistice Blouse and other images from the Dover book I have - Russel's Standard Fashions - 1915-1919:

I had bought, ages ago, a dupioni silk gingham thinking I was going to make a nice 1950's summer evening dress.  Really? What was I thinking?  Checks/strips for a circle skirt?  Obviously it didn't happen so it is now a wonderful teens frock that worked out really well.   Here was the plan of my design with swatches:
The overall design was to use the Armistice pattern and attach a skirt.

Originally I had planned to trim the white collar and cuffs in solid blue.  In the end it was to hard looking.

I love blue and white!
I actually made this dress once before but it looked really bad on me for a number of reasons.  1).  I was a 36 DDD at the time (yes, I had those girls reduced!) and I have no hips so I looked very top heavy in the high waisted dress.  2).  I chose a very flimsy cotton and it just drooped and looked limp and added to the bad proportions.  Lesson learned?  Crisp fabrics work best to give this look the shape I need.

I was really pleased with the outcome and I was able to use the belt I made for the proto type referred to  above.  The belt was made from a 3.5" Oriental embroidered ribbon or trim.
The belt!

Details of the cuffs on 3/4 sleeves
Detail of the neckline.
The buttons I used were actually white fabric covered buttons I bought by the gross from Jessica McClintok's outlet in San Francisco what seems like one hundred years ago.  Anyway, I didn't have time to make buttons or go looking for them, so I painted the white ones!  At a very frustrating moment it hit me I had fabric paint sitting around from other old projects and painting the buttons would/might work!  I mixed ultramarine blue and black.  After about 3 coats with drying time in between, they came out great!
At the event.

I forgot to get a full shot of the whole dress on at the event, but took one at home a wee bit crumpled.

The hat, believe it or not, I got a Marshall's one summer ago. It is a nice black straw with a deep crown and the perfect brim for teen's and 1920's.  At some point I will probably switch out the ribbon at the crown later.  My boots are from way back when I did a lot of Victorian events but still fit!
Overall, I was comfortable and I felt cool and pretty....oops, was that a bit immodest?  :)

Next up:
Make an 18th century chemise dress for a 9th month old
Redo Victorian Corset
Play around with embroidery samplers a la Renaissance and Alabama Chanin.